Dear Brothers and Sisters,
One of the unique liturgical characteristics of the Solemnity of Christmas is the particular readings assigned depending on the time of the Mass. Let us take a reflective look at all four gospels for this day of celebrating the great mystery of our faith.
Vigil Mass: The angel said to Joseph: “For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.” When we talk about God, we typically use the “generic” term God and mention Jesus by name. However, it’s rare that we call by name the third person of the Trinity. Yet it is precisely the Holy Spirit’s activity in our lives that helps us understand the other two persons of the Trinity and guides us to live what we learn. Let us thank the Spirit for his gifts that guide our witness of faith in the life of the Incarnation.
Mass as Night: The shepherds receive a beautiful message informing them that a child, the Lord, is wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger. They were open to hearing the message of great joy. In our lives there are many “angels” that want to share with us similar messages of great joy. Take the time to listen. How often are we either on the move and don’t have time or just don’t consciously listen? The Christian faith was, and still is, spread by people sharing stories about their experience of God. When we listen with hearts truly attentive, we not only deepen our own experience but can continue the sharing the story by being story tellers ourselves.
Mass at Dawn: The shepherds accept the invitation from the angel and journey with uncertain hearts, not understanding. While they don’t understand what is truly happening, something within them makes them go in haste to see the child. The ritual of the Mass throws us into the mysteries of our redemption. When we come to church or watch it virtually, do we hasten to see the child? We should enter the mysteries with great anticipation to experience them so we can be dismissed to go forth glorifying and praising God.
Mass During the Day: The light came into the world to dispel the darkness. John is privileged to point him out. His role is significant in the revelation of the love that God has for the human race. Very few of us have the prophetic charism of the Baptist, but we each play an important role in pointing to the Lord. With our own personal prophetic voices and actions, we can invite those that are searching to see the compassion of God. People are searching for many things, including solace from grief. Grief comes in many forms from loss to disappointment, and we can point out, like John, that the Lamb of God is here to help and support us.
As we begin to celebrate this season of hope, let us remember those who cannot at this time celebrate with us, in particular the sick. Similar to last year, the hospitals and health care facilities are full with Covid patients and people who are with other human frailties. These brothers and sisters will receive spiritual comfort from our Lord who brought hope to the sick.
My dear friends, may this season of grace be a blessing for you, and may you be strengthened to be a blessing to others.
Holy Family pray for us.